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About the book

Alive with Alzheimer's Home

The German edition: Alzheimer und Lebensqualitat

Contact the Author






Photo Vitae

Photo exhibitions

Exhibit comments

Mexico, aging photo exhibits


Link to

McGovern Bibliography


AD and Aging Links

Books and Films on AD

Photography/Visual Soc Links


Seven themes

Sample screen photos

For Peter and Danny


Visual Sociology Home

Topics and Readings


Field Projects

IVSA paper

"Reading" photos




Dr. Cathy Greenblat  






NOTE: ALL these first readings will be important for your future work in the course. Read them with care.

Douglass Harper, 1988. "Visual Sociology: Expanding Sociological Vision", The American Sociologist, Spring, pp. 54-70.

Howard Becker, 1995. "Visual sociology, documentary photography, and photojournalism: it's (almost) all a matter of context." Visual Sociology 10: 1/2: 5-14.

bell hooks, 1995. "In Our Glory: Photography and Black Life", in bell hooks, Art on My Mind: Visual Politics. New York: New Press, pp. 54-64. (Note: this essay is important in your thinking about Project 1.)

Online reading:

This is a very interesting site with an article in this issue including photographs by documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and audio clips in which she her manner of working. You need to view this site on a computer on which you can hear the audio clips. If you can’t do that on your own machine, go to one of the campus machines, but do not skip this important part of the assignment.

Here is the program for the 2001 International Visual Sociology Association. Read through the titles of presentations for a better flavor of what visual sociologists do. (You can become a student member of IVSA. The 2002 meetings are in July on the beautiful island of Mykonos, Greece!)


9/17, 9/19, 9/24, 9/26 MAKING QUALITY IMAGES

A. Technical elements of the image: cameras and film; exposure, developing, enlarging

Barbara Upton and John Upton, Photography. Fourth edition. NY: Harper Collins, 1989. Handouts from this excellent book will be distributed and discussed in class. I will try to put a copy on reserve for those who wish to read more. If you are serious about photography, this is the best book I know of on technique… it is used in many introductory photography courses.

B. Composition: taking and making better photographs

Terry Barrett, 1999. Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images. 3rd edition. Mayfield Publishing Company. Chapters to be assigned.

Howard Becker, 1986. "Do Photographs Tell the Truth?" in Doing Things Together. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, pp. 273-292. ( * this reading is ESSENTIAL to the class discussion).

Cecil Beaton and Gail Buckland, 1975. "Introduction". The Magic Image: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day. London: Weidenfield and Nicolson. Pp. 9-31.

Linda Koolish, 1984. "This is who she is to me: On photographing women." In Ascher, De Salvo, and Ruddick, Between Women. New York: Beacon Press, pp 112-135.

Online reading:

Max Kozloff critiques Richard Avedon’s photos in his book and exhibit American West.

This is a brief piece on the Calvin Klein ads, about reading a photograph.


C. Digital processes and visual truth

William J. Mitchell, 1992. The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp 191-232.

If you are interested in doing digital printing, the best book I know of is Photoshop 6.0 Artistry by Barry Haynes. Talk to me about it.



10/1 Project 1 due today, to be presented and discussed.

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself"

10/3, 10/8, 10/10 C. The photo essay

Barrett, pp.To be assigned

Strongly recommended but not required (this is a short book), on reserve: 1990. Mary Ellen Mark, The Photo Essay. Smithsonian.

Read the biographical info about Mary Ellen Mark at Then read ALL the text and examine the photos from Streetwise at (This will take 1-2 hours to reviewI expect.) The text is in the following sections which you need to read online because there will be only 1 or 2 copies of the book on reserve.

* Acknowledgments

* Preface & Postscript - Mary Ellen Mark

* Introduction - John Irving

* Foreword - Jerry Esterly

* Transcript of the film Streetwise

Then go to the library and carefully look at the photos in the book version, which is on reserve: Mary Ellen Mark and Nancy Baker, Streetwise. NY: Aperture, 1988. On 10/8 you will see the film version. This class on 10/8 will continue an extra 20 minutes to permit full viewing of the film. Please be there on time and make arrangements to stay later than usual. SEE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROJECT 2, A WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT WHICH DEALS WITH STREETWISE, which is due on 10/15


10/15, 10/17, 10/22 Photographic representations of social life: political and ethical issues

Project 2, Streetwise paper due 10/15

Representations of social issues

Peter Hamilton, 1997. "Representing the Social: France and Frenchness in Post War Humanist Photography." pp. 76 - 150 in Stuart Hall (ed), Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage Publications in association with the Open University. This is a long but important essay. Be sure you read it before Oct 20 to get the most from our class trip.

Ohm, Karin Becker, 1977, "What you see is what you get: Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams at Manzanar", in Journalism History, 4: 1, Spring, pp. 14-22, 32.

Read this site, looking at all the photos, about FSA photographer Walker Evans. There is a good discussion here about the photographer’s decisions, and some discussion of a topic to which we will turn soon: the role of the magazine or funding agency in the shaping of the photos and the photo essay.

This web site was created from a very powerful and disturbing exhibit that was at the New York Historical Society in the Spring of 1999. I will try to order the book to the library and put it on reserve.

The Schomburg Library (part of the NYPL) has a large archive of visual materials and an online collection of images of African Americans. Begin with the Introduction, a good piece by Marilyn Nance, and ultimately look at some images.



10/20 CLASS TRIP TO NY — GREY GALLERY, NYU — 'Shifting Tides: Cuban Photography After the Revolution," - An Exhibit of Cuba photos from the 1960's and 1970's


10/24, 10/29 b. Representations of old age, illness, and death

Guest lecturer expected to be here and a film on an old age center will probably be shown in class, as well as discussion of these readings…

On reserve in the library — be sure to look at this book:

Dan and Mary Jury, 1976. Gramp. New York: Grossman Publishers.

Simon Watney (year?), "Photography and AIDS", Ten-8, Number 26, pp. 14-29

You will each be assigned one chapter of the following to read on reserve and present a summary in class: David Hevey, 1992. The creatures time forgot: photography and disability imagery. New York: Routledge



10/31 Project 3 due today — to be presented and discussed


11/5, 11/7 Social scientists with cameras: ethical issues, general practices, shooting scripts, and photo-elicitation interviews

Cathy Greenblat, 2001. "Field notes from Oaxaca", and "Shadows of Remembrance…" text and photos. More information to be provided

Steven Gold, "Ethical Issues in Visual Field Work" In G. Blank, James McCartney, and Edward Brent, New Technology in Sociology. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1989, pp. 99-109.

Eugenia Shanklin,"When a Good Social Role is Worth 1,000 Photographs". In Jon Wagner, 1979 Images of Information: Still Photography in the Social Sciences. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Charles Suchar, 1997. "Grounding visual sociology research in shooting scripts", Qualitative Sociology 20: 33-55.

On reserve and very important:

John Collier and Malcolm Collier, 1986. Visual Anthropology. Albequerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, chapters 1-11.

12 page handout on shooting scripts, mostly from Roy Stryker



11/12 Sociological analysis of images

Handouts will be given in class in conjunction of our discussion of this topic.

Online reading:

This research paper on images of men in sexuality pamphlets demonstrates the sociological analysis of images.


11/14 In-class exam


11/19 no class ("payback" for our Saturday class in October)

11/21 no class --- this is a Friday for Rutgers class

While we will not meet, you should try to read as much as you can during this week of the following book… You might want to discuss some of the ideas in it with members of your family if you are home for Thanksgiving, and see what they think.

Catherine A. Lutz , Jane L. Collins, Reading National Geographic. Univ of Chicago Press, 1993. Whole book to be read and discussed in class



11/26, 11/28,12/3, 12/5, 12/10 Representations of other peoples

A short piece by Shahidul Alam titled "The Visual Representation of Developing Countries by Development Agencies and the Western Media".


READ THE ASSIGNED BOOKS FOR THE TAKE-HOME FINAL PAPERFor the final project, you will need to read and CAREFULLY ANALYZE the following sets of books, which will be on reserve in the library. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO DO THIS. There will be more instructions on this project, which will build on ALL the reading and class discussion of the semester, and should reflect your command of the topics. The books are:

Tony Mendoza, 1999. Cuba: Going Back. Austin: University of Texas Press and

David Allen Harvey, Cuba. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999







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